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Umayyad gold Dinar minted in 106 AH (724 CE)

Umayyad gold Dinar minted in 106 AH (724 CE)
© BA Antiquities Museum/M. Mounir

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Registration Number(s)
BAAM Serial Bibliotheca Alexandrina Antiquities Museum Number 0962

Inv.Inventory
 (M. of Islamic Art) 17554/3

where to find


showcase M2

Umayyad gold Dinar minted in 106 AH (724 CE)

Category:
Coins
Date:
Islamic Period, Umayyad Period (661-750)
Provenance:
Unknown
Material(s):
Non-organic material, metal, gold
Diameter:
1.9 cm;
Weight:
4.23 gr
Hall:
Islamic Antiquities, showcase M2


Description

A gold coin from the Ummayad period, written on the obverse is the phrase "there is no God but God alone without a partner" and on the rim "Mohammed is the Prophet of God sent by God to guide, the religion of truth to show to the whole world". The centre of the reverse is inscribed "God is one, God is Strength, He does not beget and He was not begotten". On the rim is inscribed the following: "In the name of God, this dinar was minted in the year hundred and six (Hejira)".

Islamic coins

The coin facilitates commercial exchange in comparison to the old barter system, where one ware is exchanged for another.  During the time of the Prophet (PBUH), Muslims used Byzantine and Sassanian (Persian) dirhams and dinars. The imposed 'zakat' (tithing or alms) was collected in these currencies as well. The coins were not altered either artistically or in content.  Caliph Abou Bakr El Seddiq (632-634 A.D.) continued using them without change.

However, during the caliphate of Omar ibn El-Khattab (634-644 A.D.), Muslims endeavoured to develop an independent identity in spite of being involved in wars or invasions. Coins similar to the Byzantine and Persian ones were therefore minted, but with the addition of phrases in Arabic, such as "Praise be to God" or "Mohammed is the Prophet of God". The names of the caliphs were also added instead of the Persian ruler Khusro's (Khosrau's).

Ummayad Coins

The money exchanged at the early stages of Islam was minted outside the Muslim nation. During the reign of Umayyad Caliph Abdel Malek ibn Marawan, a movement to mint dinars using the bronze coins of the Byzantine empire (coins depicting Hercules and his children) was started in 684 A.D. – 65 Hejira. They were minted in Alexandria.

The development of Islamic coins started in earnest during the reign of this Caliph.  By 693 A.D. – 74 Hejira, the minting authority came under the control of the Jurisprudence. They added the 'Shahada of Unification' "There is no God but God – Mohammed is the Prophet of God" on all coins, and at this stage the image of Hercules and his children was removed from the coins.  It was replaced by the image of the Caliph surrounded by the Kufic rounded script. Abdel Malek ibn Marawan is portrayed holding his sword, a symbol of his leadership and jihad for God.  By the end of his reign (died 705 A.D.) coins reflected elements of Islamic art and became purely Arab and far removed from Byzantine influence.

Abbasid Coins

Abbasid coins resembled Ummayad coins and they continued to be minted in Egypt and Damascus with the same phrases, except for the addition of the date of issue. They also added the name of the ruling Caliph under the two "Shahadas" (see first paragraph under Description) on the obverse side of the coin.

Abbasid coins are distinguished by the precision, attractiveness and elegance of the Kufic script. Coins during the Tulunid and Ikhshidid dynasties did not differ much from the Abbasid coins in terms of form or content, except that the latter added the name of the ruler in Egypt, namely Ahmed ibn Tulun.

Fatimid Coins

Coins during the Fatimid era reached a high level of artistic execution, they also differed in shape and content, being highly decorated and engraved. On both sides of the coins we find intercepting circles written in Kufic script, with the name of the Caliph and other writings.

Ayyubid Coins

Ayyubid coins differ greatly from all previous coins belonging to previous ruling houses. They no longer bore the "Shahada" inscriptions. Instead, they only showed the name of the Caliph and the name of the ruler in Egypt. Ayyubid coins also differed in the artistic design and the shape of the Kufic script. 

Mameluke Coins

The only woman to briefly rule Egypt in the Islamic era, Shagar El Dorr, had minted coins in her name. She was the wife of As-Saleh Nijm El-Din Ayyub and took over the throne on his death in 1250 A.D. – 648 Hejira.  The inscriptions on her coins read "The good queen of the Muslims, mother of Al Mansur Khalil, Prince of Believers" surrounded by a lengthy version of the "Shahada". Her coins are extremely rare, as she only ruled for two months.

Another sultan, Sultan Qutuz, is one of the more important rulers of that era. He achieved a victory against the Mongols at Ein Jalut and recorded it on gold and silver coins. The coins carried his name and referred to his glorious victory and him being the 'sword' of world and religion.

The coins of "Al-Zaher Baybars" are considered to be the most beautiful of Mameluke coins, given their fine and beautiful engravings. The Circassian (Burjeyya) Mamelukes established a new mint in Alexandria, beside the existing one in Cairo.

Ottoman Coins

A new phase developed with the Ottomans' invasion of Egypt and the end of the Mameluke era. Engravings lost their Islamic character and only represented the ruling power.  References to the "Shahada" and to Koranic verses were removed and replaced instead with the titles of these new rulers, such as "His Majesty who is Victorious on Land and on Sea".


The information given here is subject to modification/update as a result of ongoing research.

Bibliography
  • ديفيد وليام ماكدوال. مجموعات النقود. ترجمة نبيل زين الدين. مراجعة حامد رمضان الجوهري، القاهرة: الهيئة المصرية للكتاب، 1986.
  • إبراهيم جابر الجابر. النقود العربية الإسلامية. قطر: دار الكتب القطرية، 1992.
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